Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Into the Tomb of Lornegreene

art by Fnautic
Excerpted from the diary of Cassie Mabcrowe, teenage warlock currently adventuring in Wampus Country:

Dear Diary,

I come from a land of nightmarish horrors, but Wampus Country manages to be unnerving in hitherto untold and unimaginable ways. I found myself in Thistlemarch with a odd assortment of fellow travelers, being offered employment by a talking duck! Can you imagine such a thing? If only my employer knew how delicious he would be considered in my homeland. In any event, the duck was willing to outfit us for an expedition to explore (and apparently rob) the tomb of some ancient king I've never heard of. So off we went.

We found ourselves in a canyon, but the desolate place was not uninhabited. A tribe of barbarians whose totem is the Black Eagle had made their camp below. One of our number, a maniac named Soq, crept down to their encampment of yurts and...set fire to their dwellings. Dear Diary, I have begun to suspect that my companions on this journey are madmen. 

The barbarians came out of their yurts and put out the fire, so this seemed like as good a time as any to approach them and signal that we mean no harm. I bluffed their leader by claiming that we spotted the fire and came to aid them; I patted my satchel of herbs and surgeon's tools and inquired if any of them required aid. A little false deference to their "noble savagery" and protestations of rural kinship went a long way. We discovered that their shaman had disappeared down a mysterious hole and had not yet returned. The Black Eagle warriors seemed to fear the worst, but also not really care if their shaman made it back or not.

We began to ascend a weird, pillared platform so we might descend down into the aforementioned hole when we were attacked by a gaggle of...murder blankets. I blasted one into oblivion and felt the invigorating thrill of bringing death into the world. (Jezamine, my diabolic tempter, smiled with delight at this wanton viciousness.) But then my face was engulfed by one of the carpets. One of my compatriots graciously cut the thing off of my face before I was smothered. It tasted like a babushka's afghan. 

Down into the hole, which now appeared to be the entrance to a sunken tower. We found a trail of blood that led us to where the Black Eagle shaman and his fellows were hiding from sand creatures that we never saw. One of the shaman's companions was badly injured, but my divine gift kept him on this side of the Black Door. (Evelyn, my guardian angel, smiled beatifically at this act of kindness.) I also got to show these primitives what a little book learning can do; I used my surgical implements and midwifery to expertly amputate what remained of the wounded man's arm.

Despite their reputation for barbarism, the Black Eagles had no stomach for exploring the tomb. They returned to surface, but we kept delving. Mosquito, the dwarf in our party, seemed obsessed with detecting magic. We encountered some sort of undead monstrosity, whose head I exploded much to devilish Jezamine's amusement, and another undead thing that seemed to be a reanimated butler. Do all rich people employ the deceased to press their dainty underthings? The mind boggles. Anyway, Mosquito asked to be alone with this one to speak to it privately. 

Note to self: keep an eye on this Mosquito person; something isn't quite right there. Why does he wear a mask all the time? Why is there an arrow on his hat? Why does he want alone time with dead people?

Note to self #2: Mosquito did not like the "short" jokes Alesandro and I were making about him. 

Note to self #3: Keep making those jokes. Even Evelyn doesn't tsk me for them.

We later discovered some giant pale ants ransacking a room and trying on clothing or somesuch. We killed one of them, and the other fled down a tunnel. With few other options for exploration open to us, we eventually went in pursuit. What we found was an ant-woman hybrid, hideous of aspect and querulous of character. Alesandro and Mosquito parlayed with the unnatural beast and her entourage while Soq and I waited for the inevitable violence to break out. Parlay came to a crashing halt when the ant-woman began to demand that we bring her a harpsichord in return for her permission to explore deeper within the tomb. 

And then we slew them all, even the larvae. We gathered up an astounding array of treasure--I believe I have enough saved up now to buy my own horse! Dear Diary, whatever shall I name her? 

We also brought up some larvae to roast and eat. Can't be worse than snake, I reckon.

And so, Dear Diary, goodnight!